How Sensual Exposure Affects a Marriage

One of the greatest threats to sexual purity and marital intimacy is the exposure of immoral material present in our society. Being a member of this culture ensures that you have been exposed to sinful content and suggestive comments that distort sexual sanctity. 

Even if you don’t go looking for it, it comes looking for you.

Through targeted advertisements, sensual media, and provocative clothing, our eyes are targeted to view images for which we should never have seen. After the exposure, our minds lock onto visual stimulants that linger long after the interaction. The more we interact with seductive temptations, the more our standards become convoluted in determining what is real and what is reasonable.

At the very least, being alive in this culture ensures that your innocence has been tainted even with unwanted material. At the most damaging level, you might have willfully sought out and engaged with pornographic material that has polluted your expectations.

A growing number of people are unsatisfied with healthy sexual experiences within the confines of marriage because of a distorted normalcy due to the media they have consumed.   

Every exposure to sensual material threatens our chance for sensible satisfaction within marriage. While you may be smitten with your spouse, you will find someone in-person or online that is more attractive at some point. It may be hard to imagine, but, with just the right lighting, with the perfect editing capabilities, some person will seem more appealing to you than your spouse. Due to mere repeated exposure, while the gift of enjoying intimacy with your spouse should be a completely satisfying experience, it can become a devastating letdown because he or she cannot compare to what is manufactured.

To some of you reading, this reality may come as a warning, but to others, it may seem like condemnation. You have consumed so much material, stared at so many people, and fantasized about certain scenarios so much that you cannot even fathom what normalcy would look like.

While God’s forgiveness is thorough, the stimulating memories and opportunities can linger still. 

How do you combat it? Just like the person who is allergic to cigarettes, you cannot always avoid second-hand smoke, but you can avoid taking up the habit. Living in this culture ensures that we will pass by certain material without intentionality, but we can take measures to fight against our direct pursuit of such content. You can be wise enough about where to go and what to do that will help you keep your eyes, mind, and heart as pure as possible.

You must determine to make a covenant with your eyes to avoid sinful gazing (Job 31:1). The lustful staring turns into an obsession which is equal to committing adultery of the heart (Matt. 5:28). When we allow ourselves to gawk at someone else, it can lead us to covet someone else’s spouse (Ex. 20:17) which implies disobedience to God’s commandments and dissatisfaction with what God has given us in the gift of a spouse.

The more you engage with digital or analog voyeuristic tendencies, the greater your chance of desiring someone else and detaching from the one whom you have committed to love above all else. Loving a spouse for the long haul has challenges by itself, but it becomes near impossible to stay faithful the more you introduce outside parties into your eyes and mind.

No matter how much you have been exposed to in the past, you must become ultra intentional about fighting against the lures of visual temptation.